6:30pm is an inconvenient time for an opera to start. One barely has time to get home from shopping, call one’s boyfriend, change into a suit and bow-tie, slurp a dinner of oatmeal, catch the bus downtown, snarf a second dinner of German sausage under the pillars of Covent Garden market (My Fair Lady!), and get seated in time for the curtain to go up
But a 6:30 curtain when Joyce DiDonato is singing Semiramide means four hours of dazzling bel canto fireworks–which is certainly nothing to complain about. I think it’s my first time seeing her live (all the other times I’ve seen her only on live broadcast) and she’s completely incredible.
Another thing not to complain about? Sitting in the balcony at the Royal Opera House. I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to sitting in the orchestra stalls (luxuries once tasted, and all that), but Ms DiDonato’s star-power meant the tickets were more than twice what they normally would have been, and rather more than I could justify. I was a bit leary that the balcony might feel like the rafters, but not at all — I had a great line of sight and the sound was just as good (possibly better?) than in the orchestra level. So who knows? Maybe I’ll become a regular of the balcony….